Most anglers cannot just step out of a lakeshore house and start casting; a road trip is required before we wet a line. And road trips call for some sustenance… often at some unholy hour. Every major road leaving Stillwater, Oklahoma has a gas station convenience store, fully equipped to cater to the angler.
Some foods are an integral part of a fishing trip, consumed not necessarily for nutritional value but more out of the fishing trip ritual. For example, I am inclined to agree with singer Robert Earl Keen and grab some coffee and a honeybun before pursuing my 5-pound bass. Nathan Kennedy, fly-fishing blogger at Tennessee Valley Angler shared his “Top Ten Fishing Snacks,” which includes Vienna sausages, the “ultimate disgusting fishing snack.”
Anything consumed before the outing needs to be inhaled quickly, preferably in the vehicle. It should not cut into fishing time. Angler John Harris depends on his bottle of Pepsi and mixed nuts to get him two hours up the road on early morning drives to Lake Erie for steelhead, yellow perch, or smelt. If professional tournament angler Laura Starkey Heflin eats before getting on the road, she prefers the sugar buzz of Twizzlers and Fruit Loops. Sometimes snacking helps one continue to shake off an early morning stupor, but for me, visions of giant, leaping, hungry fish usually are sufficient to help me reach my target heart rate for the day. Whatever is consumed, keep in mind that if they are really biting, it might have to hold you until sunset. Or until the Mrs. calls.
One might feel peckish during a trip as well. Bassmaster Elite Pro Casey Ashley always has a grape Gatorade and a Snickers on the boat, while Alton Jones is a sucker for Pringles, regular flavor. John Crews consumes protein bars but Boyd Duckett is a peanut butter and jelly man. (Chunky, grape, on a hamburger bun.) It was reported that during one tournament, Gerald Swindle lamented that he had eaten all of his Moon Pies during a 3-hour fog delay, and would have to rough it without them while on the water.
After a day on the water, we are usually not in suitable attire to dine at a restaurant so just hit the first gas station convenience store. My son Luke cannot look at mashed potatoes without getting the dry heaves but considers the rotating gas station hotdog to be haute cuisine. Dad goes old school in a Fear Factor sort of way and dumps salted peanuts directly into his bottle of RC cola. I prefer fountain Dr. Pepper, rather than a bottle. For the complete soda experience, something in a back room needs to go “pshtpshtpsht.” In addition, there needs to be four sizes of straws to choose from: coffee swizzle stick straws, regular-sized straws, poke-you-in-the-eye extra long straws, and the ones with the little spoon on the end, in case the kids want an “Extreme Strawberry” seat-upholstery-staining icy thing.
I generally choose something not too heavy to eat. Even if not the driver, I do not want to get sleepy back in the warm truck. Riding “shotgun” is an important job too, stirring the conversational pot to keep the driver awake and watching for suicidal deer.
Today was one of those unfortunate days when I did not have time to fish… Still, running errands, I swung by the corner gas station and grabbed a honey bun and coffee. I was thinking about fishing. And that seemed a good enough excuse.
Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Oklahoma. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com.